Spring has arrived. The sun has been breaking through the clouds and warming up the earth below. The melting snow revealing all that it has covered up over winter. As the seasons change we also begin to see, if only from a distance, neighbours that we have not seen all winter long. We may have a deep relationship spanning many years with some of these neighbours; some we may not even know at all. But regardless of how long we have known our neighbours, it should be our desire to build relationship with them so that we can love them in the way Christ has loved us.
“This is the message that you have heard from the beginning. We should love one another.” 1 John 3:11
As we enter this Easter season, we are reminded of what had been done for us. We have been redeemed from an eternity apart from God and all of His goodness. We have been shown an abounding love by our Saviour Jesus Christ. A love that is as wide as outstretched limbs nailed to a tree. “For this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” 1 John 3:24. Through His sacrifice, He has conquered sin and death; He has made a way for all who believe in His name to be saved.
The truth of Easter weekend is not just for us. As much as we receive the good news of Jesus Christ with joy in our own lives, we are not called to stop there. As we have come to know what love is by the servant sacrifice of Jesus, we are called to reciprocate that love to others. “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts and He knows everything.” 1 John 3:17-24.
As we have experienced the love of Jesus in our own lives, we are called to love others in a way that addresses their needs physically, emotionally, and spiritually through action, not only in words. As we continue in our journey together as a church body, we seek to not only begin and belong, but to BECOME more committed followers of Jesus; and this is what Christ has asked of us, “…to believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded.” 1 John 3:23. It is my prayer that collectively we grow in our willingness and ability to love others in all areas of our lives. Whether among co-workers, our neighbours, our families, or strangers, we are called to look beyond ourselves to see the needs around us.
How do we discover the needs? We need to first be growing in our ability to listen. As we talk to people in all of our relational spheres, we can serve them by listening to them. Hearing about their past, inquiring about their families, asking about their hobbies and interests, being concerned for their well-being, celebrating their victories. Listening is the beginning of building any trusting relationship. Intentionally building relationships is so important as we seek to share the life and love of Christ with others. As we build relationships continue to pray that God would soften the heart of those you are walking with and that, by His Spirit, they would begin to explore the truth of Jesus.
So, wherever you are over this Easter Season, take time to consider ways that you might build relationships with those around you who are uncertain what the Gospel means in their lives. One opportunity you have is to invite a friend to the movie night on April 10. Whether you choose this or not, seek ways to bless those you have relationship with. The goal being that they would know the love of Christ alive in us, for this is where we are called to start in relationship with those who do not know Him. As we seek to be active in blessing, we will continue to rely on the work of the Holy Spirit in those around us; that God will build His kingdom as we open ourselves up to be part of His work.
- Nathan Wachal, Associate Pastor Community Initiatives and Worship Arts